Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Clues to diabetes susceptibility in a snip (SNP)

A genetic variant highly associated with diabetes is found in both East Asian and European populations

A RIKEN-led research group has uncovered a previously unreported locus or area of chromosome in which single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are highly associated with type 2 diabetes in populations of East Asian and European descent.

The finding could lead to a diagnostic test. And studies of the principal gene’s role in the development and progress of the disease could reveal useful target compounds for drugs to prevent or treat the condition.

Type 2 or adult onset diabetes affects more than 200 million people worldwide and that number is increasing. What makes people susceptible is not fully clear, but a combination of many genes and environmental factors is likely. Recent advances in the technology to find specific SNPs in an entire individual genome have made it possible to determine which SNPs or groups of SNPs are associated with particular diseases. Several studies involving type 2 diabetics in the US and Europe have already picked out at least 16 loci associated with their condition, but no one had investigated entire individual genomes of people of East Asian ancestry.

So researchers from RIKEN’s Center for Genomic Medicine in Yokohama and institutes in Japan, Denmark and Singapore compared SNPs of type 2 diabetics with those of non-diabetics in groups from those three countries. They report their findings in a letter to Nature Genetics1.

Initially the researchers conducted a genome-wide association study in Japan of more than 207,000 SNPs. Analyzing their results statistically, they selected the 8,323 SNPs most associated with the condition, and tested these further. Eventually they pared their original number of SNPs down to six from three loci. Two of those loci were known to be highly associated with type 2 diabetes from the earlier studies, but one, based around the gene KCNQ1, was new. When tested in populations of East Asian descent in Singapore and European descent in Denmark, it was highly associated with type 2 diabetes in them as well.

KCNQ1 encodes a protein involved in forming pores enabling potassium ions to move out of cells. Mutations in the gene are reported to cause significant problems in the heart, but also in the inner ear, stomach and several other organs.

“We now want to examine the role of KCNQ1 in type 2 diabetes using animal models or cell cultures,” says project leader Shiro Maeda. “And we wish to continue our studies to discover more susceptibility genes.”


1. Unoki, H., Takahashi, A., Kawaguchi, T., Hara, K., Horikoshi, M., Andersen, G., Ng, D.P.K., Holmkvist, J., Borch-Johnsen, K., Jørgensen, T., et al. SNPs in KCNQ1 are associated with susceptibility to type 2 diabetes in East Asian and European populations. Nature Genetics 40, 1098–1102 (2008).

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Laboratory for Endocrinology and Metabolism

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>